From state-controlled media to video-on-demand platforms: Rethinking global cultural flows and television viewers' changing habits in the case of Turkey

Kaymas S.

JOURNAL OF DIGITAL MEDIA & POLICY, vol.13, no.2, pp.181-199, 2022 (ESCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 13 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1386/jdmp_00040_1
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.181-199
  • Keywords: Turkey, Netflix, digital divide, video-on-demand platforms, pay TV, class, class status, TURKISH DRAMAS, NETFLIX, AGE, PREDICTABILITY, CONVERGENCE, PERFORMANCE, DISCOUNT, MOVIES, MARKET
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


This study aims to open a discussion on the changing face of cultural imperial-ism within the context of contemporary capitalism's conditions and the changing habits of Turkish television viewers. Although the past two decades have witnessed a growing interest in both the changing patterns of television viewing habits and viewers' class status, this process has focused almost exclusively on the West and specifically Euro-American metropolitan viewers' experiences. By contrast, very few studies have directly addressed other contexts, specifically, television view-ers in non-western countries. Based on cultural proximity and cultural discount theories, this study analyses the reasons and outcomes behind Turkish televi-sion viewers' ongoing tendency towards the video-on-demand platforms, such as Netflix, HBO, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video or their domestic counterparts, like Puhu or Blu TV, under Turkey's ongoing modernization process. The results suggest that video-on-demand platforms provide particular interest for televi-sion viewers while offering relative freedom from state-controlled public media or strictly regulated private channels. Nevertheless, these platforms have appealed to both Turkish upper-middle-class viewers and younger viewers who have the cultural background to enjoy and appreciate the content on offer. This study also indicates how access to streaming platforms in Turkey mainly relies on the class status of television viewers, and that this kind of cultural flow, to some extent, creates a digital divide in Turkey.